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Houston at Chicago

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Houston (55-107)100000030461
Chi. Cubs (61-101) «010300001571

Astros lose to Cubs in NL finale

CBSSports.com wire reports
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CHICAGO -- The Houston Astros ended their National League tenure with a result that's become familiar: a loss.

The Astros set a franchise record for losses in a season, finishing 2012 with a 5-4 defeat to the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday as Bryan LaHair homered and hit a game-winning single in the ninth inning.

Houston went 55-107, one more loss than last year. The Astros split the final 30 games of their sorry season, winning five of their final seven.

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"That's the goal of a season where we didn't win as much as we wanted to," shortstop Jed Lowrie said. "To finish strong gives everybody a good feeling going home."

In the first series between 100-game losers in the major leagues since 1962, LaHair homered in the second and broke a 4-all tie against Hector Ambriz (1-1).

The Astros became the first team with 106 or more losses in consecutive seasons since the 1964-65 New York Mets.

Houston finished its NL tenure with 3,999 regular-season wins and 4,134 losses with five ties. The Astros are moving to the AL West next season, creating three divisions of five teams in each league.

"There's going to be some stiff competition, but it'll be good for everybody," Lowrie said. "We'll prepare and see how it goes."

The Astros were 16-25 under interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, who took over after Brad Mills was fired on Aug. 18. Washington third base coach Bo Porter already has been hired as Houston's manager for next season.

"I just went around to everybody and thanked them for everything they did," DeFrancesco said. "I appreciate it. They're ready to go home. It's been a long season."

DeFrancesco, previously Houston's Triple-A manager, hopes to remain on the Astros' major league staff.

"I was comfortable in the clubhouse talking to the players and dealing with Jeff in the front office," DeFrancesco said, referring to general manager Jeff Luhnow. "Everybody's been very warm to me. I'm really proud to be a part of this."

The Cubs, who haven't won the World Series since 1908, went 61-101 for their most losses since dropping 103 games in 1966.

"A lot of hard work was put in this year," LaHair said. "Unfortunately, the record didn't say that, but just to finish the season with a win, it's always fun to do that."

Carlos Marmol (3-3) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win.

Justin Maxwell hit a tying, three-run homer for Houston in the eighth off Shawn Camp. It was Maxwell's team-leading 18th home run.

"The way we finished, we knocked the Brewers out of playoff contention, we really played well these last few weeks," Maxwell said. "If we individually work on the things we know we have to get better at, we're going to be as a better team."

Cubs starter Travis Wood allowed one run, three hits and five walks in 6 1/3 innings, giving up Carlos Corporan's RBI single in the first. Wood also chased Astros starter Edgar Gonzalez with a two-run single.

Gonzalez gave up four runs, five hits and four walks in 3 1/3 innings. Houston pitched 28 consecutive scoreless innings before LaHair's homer in the second.

Most of the Cubs' regulars were given the day off. The exception, Starlin Castro, became the first player in franchise history to play shortstop in all 162 games, and the first major leaguer to do it since Jimmy Rollins in 2007. Castro's 195 consecutive games played is the longest active streak in the NL.

DeFrancesco said the Astros have a good foundation to build upon and they made strides fundamentally on defense. Houston's pitching was a bright spot in the final month, as the Astros threw three consecutive shutouts before Wednesday.

He thinks owner Jim Crane will be willing to improve the roster.

"I know Jeff and Jim are going to get some help down the road, get us some power for the American League, and eventually compete and hopefully get into October like everybody else," DeFrancesco said.

Notes

  • Houston finished with home runs in a season-high seven straight games and had 20 homers in its final 12 games.
  • Astros OF Scott Moore (left shoulder) and 2B Jose Altuve (groin) did not play after they were injured in Tuesday's game.
  • The Cubs drew 2,882,756 to Wrigley Field, the first time under 3 million at home since 2003.
  • Cubs OF Alfonso Soriano said he is open to being traded in the offseason if the Cubs don't plan on contending the next two years. "I just want to have one more shot to go to the World Series before I [retire]," Soriano said. The 36-year-old said he will seriously consider retiring when his contract expires after the 2014 season. He is slated to make $18 million each of the next two seasons.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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The Astros, who play their final game in the NL, fall to 16-25 under interim manager Tony DeFrancesco. (AP)
The Astros, who play their final game in the NL, fall to 16-25 under interim manager Tony DeFrancesco. (AP)

Players of the Game
Chicago

B. LaHair
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
Houston

J. Maxwell
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Tyler Greene, 2B5010021 .230
Jed Lowrie, SS3100102 .244
Matt Dominguez, 3B3200101 .284
Justin Maxwell, LF3123100 .229
Carlos Corporan, C4021001 .269
Brandon Barnes, CF4000003 .204
Brandon Laird, 1B4000020 .257
    Hector Ambriz, P0000000 .000
Jimmy Paredes, RF3010120 .189
    Brian Bogusevic, RF0000000 .203
Edgar Gonzalez, P1000100 .111
    Fernando Abad, P0000000 .143
    Jose Valdez, P0000000 .000
    Mickey Storey, P0000000 .000
   a- Matt Downs, PH0000100 .202
    Fernando Rodriguez, P0000000 .000
    Brett Wallace, 1B1000001 .253
Totals3146466  
a-walked for Storey in the 7th
Batting
2B - Justin Maxwell (13, Wood)
HR - Justin Maxwell (18, Camp)
RBI - Justin Maxwell 3 (53), Carlos Corporan (13)
2-OUT RBI - Carlos Corporan (7)
CS - Carlos Corporan (1, 2nd base by Camp/Recker)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Lowrie-T. Greene-Laird
E - Edgar Gonzalez (1, Throwing)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Edgar Gonzalez 3.1544411 5.04
Fernando Abad 0.1000100 5.09
Jose Valdez 1.1000000 2.25
Mickey Storey 1000010 3.86
Fernando Rodriguez 1000010 5.37
Hector Ambriz (L,1-1) 1.2211320 4.19
Pitches-Strikes - Edgar Gonzalez 75-42, Fernando Abad 10-5, Jose Valdez 13-8, Mickey Storey 12-8, Fernando Rodriguez 14-10, Hector Ambriz 42-23
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edgar Gonzalez 4-4, Fernando Abad 1-0, Jose Valdez 2-2, Fernando Rodriguez 1-1
Batters Faced - Edgar Gonzalez 18, Fernando Abad 2, Jose Valdez 4, Mickey Storey 3, Fernando Rodriguez 3, Hector Ambriz 10
Chicago Cubs
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Tony Campana, LF5020000 .264
Adrian Cardenas, 2B3000223 .183
Starlin Castro, SS4000105 .283
Bryan LaHair, 1B5122000 .259
Dave Sappelt, RF4110000 .275
Josh Vitters, 3B2110200 .121
Brett Jackson, CF3100121 .175
Anthony Recker, C2001201 .143
    Darwin Barney, PR0100000 .254
Travis Wood, P3012010 .189
    Jaye Chapman, P0000000 .000
    Shawn Camp, P0000000 .000
    Carlos Marmol, P0000000 .000
   a- Steve Clevenger, PH1000001 .201
Totals3257585  
a-popped out-bunting for Marmol in the 9th
Batting
HR - Bryan LaHair (16, E. Gonzalez)
RBI - Bryan LaHair 2 (40), Anthony Recker (4), Travis Wood 2 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Bryan LaHair (15)
SB - Tony Campana (30, 3rd base off E. Gonzalez/Corporan), Josh Vitters (2, 2nd base off E. Gonzalez/Corporan)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Castro-Cardenas-LaHair, LaHair-Castro-Marmol
E - Brett Jackson (2, Dropped line drive)
Chicago Cubs
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Travis Wood 6.1311540 4.27
Jaye Chapman (H,5) 0.2000000 3.75
Shawn Camp (BS,4) 1232111 3.59
Carlos Marmol (W,3-3) 1100010 3.42
Pitches-Strikes - Travis Wood 93-55, Jaye Chapman 3-2, Shawn Camp 16-10, Carlos Marmol 11-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Travis Wood 7-8, Jaye Chapman 1-0, Shawn Camp 1-1, Carlos Marmol 1-0
Batters Faced - Travis Wood 27, Jaye Chapman 1, Shawn Camp 6, Carlos Marmol 3
Game Information
Attendance - 27606
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 67
Umpires - Home - John Tumpane, First Base - Jim Wolf, Second Base - Ron Kulpa, Third Base - Wally Bell